Our Response to COVID-19

At Interior, we are committed to providing up-to-date information and resources to help you safely visit national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other federally managed lands and facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Staying Safe and Recreating Responsibly

Whether seeking wide-open spaces or exploring a historic urban neighborhood, you should always recreate responsibly

To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, follow the CDC’s guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities

Help Us Stop the Spread

Follow the tips below to stay safe and help us stop the spread of COVID-19: 

  • Wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated or if you live in an area of substantial or high community transmission. If you are  fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic; however, to maximize protection from variants and lower the risk of spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. You should also continue to wear a mask where required by federal, state, local, Tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations. All people, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask on all forms of public transportation and in healthcare settings, including on DOI lands and in areas of substantial or high community transmission. 
  • Stay home if you don’t feel well or have recently been sick. If you are sick with or tested positive for COVID-19, were recently close to someone with COVID-19 or just don’t feel well, do not visit public areas including parks or recreational facilities. Follow the CDC’s recommended steps to take if you are sick
  • Check local conditions and requirements before you go. Check with local offices for current conditions, including closures, visitor information and operational status updates.  Follow recommendations from the CDC and your state and local health authorities before visiting your public lands to best protect yourself, employees and our volunteers. Additional mask requirements for fully vaccinated visitors vary based on local conditions. Please check with individual national parks or national wildlife refuges or visit the website of your local BLM office for specific details about operations. Find out if other services are available. Be sure to bring enough food, water and other essential items to last the duration of your trip. 
  • Don’t visit crowded parks or campgrounds. Avoid heavily used or crowded trails, parking areas and sites. Read our 10 Alternatives to Popular National Parks blog post for trip ideas. 
  • Have a backup plan to avoid crowded high-use areas. If you find an area to be crowded, turn around. Where possible, we are making a few changes to promote pandemic safety, including making some trail loops one way. 
  • Carefully consider the use of playgrounds, parks and facilities — and help children follow guidelines. Avoid unnecessary risks while recreating to prevent overwhelming local medical facilities. Know your limits, plan your trip and hike smart
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. Be considerate of others enjoying the outdoors by giving them as much space as possible in parking lots, facilities, at trailheads and other public lands. 
  • Wash your hands often and don’t share items with people you don’t live with. Wash hands often, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. 
  • Bring supplies for sanitation with you and pack out your trash. Facilities, including bathrooms and visitor centers, may not be open or available for in-person contact.

When to Wear a Mask as a Visitor

We are following the CDC's guidance for fully vaccinated people.

We require everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask inside federal buildings in areas of high community transmission. Use the table below to determine when you should wear a mask. To determine whether you are in an area of substantial or high community transmission, visit the CDC COVID Data Tracker website.

If

Then

You are fully vaccinated, but you live in an area of substantial or high community transmission. 

Wear a mask. 

You are fully vaccinated, but masks are required by federal, state, local, Tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, regardless of the level of community transmission. 

Wear a mask. 

You are fully vaccinated, you do not live in an area of substantial or high community transmission, and masks are not required by federal, state, local, Tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations. 

You do not have to wear a mask in most situations. Follow CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people

You are fully vaccinated, but you want to use any form of public transportation or visit a healthcare facility, including on DOI lands. 

Wear a mask. 

You are not fully vaccinated. 

Wear a mask. 

Get Vaccinated 

We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines provide an opportunity to return to a more normal lifestyle, prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and death. COVID-19 vaccines reduce your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Currently, COVID-19 infections have been reported in a very small percentage of fully vaccinated adults. If you are unvaccinated, you should get vaccinated and, in the meantime, continue wearing a mask, maintain physical distance, and observe other COVID-19 health and safety protocols for unvaccinated individuals until you are fully vaccinated (two weeks past your second shot if you received the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine or two weeks past your single Johnson & Johnson shot).

More than 200 million Americans have already received COVID-19 vaccines with a very low occurrence of any serious side effects. All COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be intensely monitored for safety. The more unvaccinated people there are, the greater the chance COVID-19 has to spread and mutate into more contagious variants that cause severe disease. COVID-19 vaccines are our best defense and are effective against current variants. 

It is normal to have questions about the vaccines. We encourage you to find answers. Learn how you can find credible vaccine information, identify facts about COVID-19 vaccines and get answers to commonly asked questions about vaccinations

To find a location to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Vaccines.gov (or for information in Spanish, visit Vacunas.gov). 

Our Workplace Safety Plan 

Our goal is to prioritize the health and safety of our workforce while sustaining the mission of the Department.  

The Department of the Interior COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan serves as a framework for our implementation of the President’s Executive Order, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memo 21-15 COVID-19 Safe Federal Workplace: Agency Model Safety Principles

How We’re Responding to COVID-19

We continue to closely monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are working with federal, state, local, Tribal and territorial governments, public health officials, health care providers, researchers and the public to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our employees, visitors, partners and contractors safe. At every step, we are using the latest science to guide our decision-making. 

The lead agencies coordinating the federal response to COVID-19 are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Interior’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) supports this effort by planning and implementing Interior’s response. 

Resources

Federal Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Rumors and Myths

Responsible Recreation

Guidance from Our Bureaus and Offices

Find COVID-19 Vaccines Near You. Visit Vaccines.gov or call I-800-232-0233